13thSeptember. On departure from Bristol for the first time this trip we were returning to a port we had been to before: Cardiff, and friendly Penarth Quays marina. There are very few places to stop overnight between Bristol and Padstow in Cornwall (120 miles away), and stopping at Cardiff made a short but significant first leg, enabling daytime passages all the way. 

We had new crew on board: Ben and Tim. After a meal out in busy Bristol the previous evening we got up early so we could lock out at 7am, arriving at the lock in good time for two road bridges to be swung to let us into the lock.  Accompanying us was Sol Purpose, a US-registered yacht who had been alongside us in Bristol for a few days after arriving from a transatlantic crossing. They took an impressive photo of us under the suspension bridge.

Nova under Clifton suspension bridge

We motored at a good speed down the Avon and after requesting permission from the port authority via VHF we left the river and crossed the channel – there was no commercial traffic about.  We put up our big sail and made good speed to Cardiff, sailing with tide and gentle wind behind, just as we had in the other direction. Arriving to lock in through the barrage at 11.15am, Ben and Tim went off to explore Cardiff while Jonathan and Anne finalised the passage plan for the next couple of days: we had considered various options depending on the wind direction so this was decision time.

  • Distance: 25nm Bristol to Cardiff. Sailed 3h motored 45m
  • Wind: NE3-4


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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